CAMPAIGNERS made fresh calls yesterday for the government to complete the dualling of the A9 after two lorry drivers died in a head-on crash on one of the Scotland’s most notorious roads.
The drivers, who were in their 30s and from the Glasgow area, were killed when an articulated lorry carrying barrels of whisky smashed into a northbound lorry carrying newspapers to Inverness on a single-carriageway stretch of the road.
The early-morning collision blocked the busy route in both directions, causing traffic chaos for more than 16 hours.
Some heavy goods vehicles were forced to make a diversion of 120 miles to avoid the affected stretch of road near Blair Atholl.
The accident site – less than two miles from a section of dual carriageway – was strewn with debris. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene.
The Scottish Government has set a target date of 2025 to complete the dualling of the 117-mile road, which switches between single carriageway and short stretches of dual carriageway.
But campaigners said yesterday the completion of the dual-carriageway scheme, estimated to cost up to £4 billion, could not come soon enough.
Murdo Fraser, the Conservative MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, who has been a leading campaigner for A9 dualling, said: “What we are seeing is major disruption caused to one of Scotland’s major arterial routes with both business and tourist traffic having to be diverted at substantial time and cost. Once again, it reinforces the need for the A9 to be made up to a full dual-carriageway as quickly as possible. Sadly, every year that goes by is another year in which we will see more lives lost.”
He added: “When it comes to timetabling the work, what we should be looking at are the areas where there has been the highest fatality and accident rates to make sure that these are at the top of the list.”
Richard Simpson, the Mid-Scotland and Fife Labour MSP, who has accused the government of making improvements to the A9 at a “snail’s pace”, said: “The development of the A9 has been far too slow and this sort of tragic accident demonstrates just how urgent it is that we ensure this development is speeded up.
“It is the most dangerous road I drive and it is the one journey where, if I can, I take the train.”
A spokesman for transport minister Keith Brown, said: “Our sympathies are with family and friends at this time.
“As police investigations are ongoing, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this time.”